It’s been a (long) while since I did a Fraggle Curated post, so as I have a spare day off this weekend I thought why not do an extra post and add to the other ones which, if you haven’t seen them before can be found HERE.
“Castles are Forrests of stones” ~ George Herbert
“Even castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually.” ~ Jimmy Hendrix
“Don’t live in the castles; freedom is in the fields! But I can also say: Don’t live in the fields; security is in the castles!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
“There is no castle so strong that it cannot be overthrownby money“. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
“A ruin should always be protected but never repaired – thus may we witness full the lingering legacies of the past.” ~ Walter Scott
“When we look at the ruins, we always get the same feeling: It’s as if the ruin will suddenly come alive and tell its own interesting story!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
“It is as easy to create a castle as a button. It’s just a matter of whether you’re focused on a castle or a button” ~ Esther Hicks
“If you are delighted to be in ancient ruins, you are either a curious historian or a romantic person!”~ Mehmet Murat ildan
“The splendour falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story: The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying”. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
The home to everyone is to him his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose. ~ Edward Coke
“Have fun storming the castle.” ~ William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
I last did a small post on Gibside back in 2013, that no-one just about has seen. Sophie and I did visit in 2016 but the 365 back then got in the way of me doing a Fraggle Report that time. Anyhoo, in November gone, we went looking for autumn, the best time to visit there.
The History Bit ☕️🍪
Gibside, a country estate, set amongst the peaks and slopes of the Derwent Valley. Previously owned by the Bowes- Lyon family. It is now a National Trust property. The main house on the estate is now a shell, although the property is most famous for its chapel. The stables, walled garden and Banqueting House are also intact. It is also the childhood home of Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (24 February 1749 – 28 April 1800), known as “The Unhappy Countess”, who was an 18th-century British heiress, notorious for her licentious lifestyle, who was married at one time the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She and the Earl are ancestors of Queen Elizabeth 2nd. We’ll get to Mary in part 2.
The Gibside Estate was aquired by the Blakiston Family through marriage around 1540, and Sir William Blakiston (1562–1641) (Willy 1) replaced the old house with a spacious mansion between 1603 and 1620. Jumping forward to 1693, Sir William’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Blakiston, married Sir William Bowes (Willy 2) (1657–1707) and as a result the Gibside property came into the possession of the Bowes family in 1713. The joined forces of the two influential families and the aquisition of Gibside gave the Bowes family an even greater influence in the north of the county and a share in the immense wealth that was to be acquired from the coal trade. The Blakiston estate included some of the area’s richest coal seams.
After Willy 2 came George, who inherited the estate in 1722. Dad to Mary, the “Bowes heiress” who married John Lyon, the 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. John had to change his surname to Bowes due to a provision in her father’s will that any suitor had to take the family name. This was a device to continue the Bowes lineage in the absence of a male heir. The estate remained in the Bowes and Bowes-Lyon family until the 20th century. In the 18th and 19th centuries though they carried out many improvements including landscaping, Gibside Chapel, built between 1760 and 1812, the Banqueting House, a column of Liberty,a substantial stable block, an avenue of oaks and several hundred acres of forest. The top floor of the main house was remodelled as a giant parapet and the building was also extended to the side.
Following the death of John Bowes (the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne) in 1820, it belonged to his legitimated son, yet another John Bowes 🙄 until his death in 1885 (he is buried in the Gibside chapel), when under an established trust, it reverted to his cousin Claude the the 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It had been the main residence of John Bowes’ mother, Mary Milner, by then Dowager Countess of Strathmore, and her second husband, the politician, Sir William Hutt, (who had been John Bowes’ tutor), until the latter’s death in 1882, which was the last time it was permanently occupied by the family.
I’ll be using photos from across the 3 visits, as we didn’t do everything everytime.
The mausoleum chapel at the south end of the ‘Grand Walk’ was built following the death of George Bowes owner of the estate, in 1760. The Greek Palladian-style building was designed by James Paine for Lord Strathmore, who had inherited the estate. George Bowes was finally interred in the mausoleum on its completion in 1812. The building is Grade 1 listed on the National Heritage List for England.
The Banqueting House is an 18th Century gothic folly, built 1751 by Daniel Garrett for George Bowes. Restored in 1980 by Charlewood, Curry ,Wilson and Atkinson and is now a holiday home you can rent from the Landmark Trust, so you can’t go in it unless you book a ticket for one of their public heritage days, hopefully we’ll do that this September. Of course if you have £900 and 3 people to share it with you can have a 3 night stay there. It sits atop a small hill with views over the Derwent Valley, and there’s an octagonal pond at the bottom of the hill.
The ‘Column of Liberty’ was commissioned by Sir George Bowes and begun in the 1750s. It reflected his politics as he was a Whig – a liberal political party in the UK which in the 1680s and the 1850s contested power with their rivals, the Tories -(Conservative Party). Set at the top of a steep hillock, the monument itself is a Doric order column, and topped by a standing bronze female figure, originally gilded, carrying a cap of liberty on a pole.
You can see it for miles and here it is, very tiny, seen from the far end of the avenue of oaks known as the Grand Walk.
Hope you’re not seeing it on a phone screen 🤣
A bit closer then..
And then we’re right there..
That will do for today and next time we’ll have a look at the Countess Mary Bowes’ life and times, and see the main house and the orangery.
This week we are going to have a wander around the house. Sophie and I thought it was a bit like a tardis, as it seemed to have far more rooms than the outside appearance would have you think.
You can see examples of bold Palladian plasterwork and the more delicate neo-classical plasterwork ceilings in the drawing and dining rooms.
Firstly the padded doorway. This was installed by James Stovin Pennyman (1830-96) to help prevent the sounds of conversation disturbing the household – he worked in York Lunatic Asylum so it’s possibly where he got that idea from.
Lots of ceramics on display in the dining room
and a nice view of one of the formal gardens
upstairs is also quite ornate with the plasterwork everywhere
and every bedroom has a four poster
Loved this corner cupboard from the Netherlands circa 1770 – 1800
More art on the walls
because who wouldn’t want a parrot and dead birds on the wall??
Ruth Pennyman lived here and in this room, till her end.
and clearly liked her nylon stockings
Them wer’t days.
Enough for this week, and I’ll be back next Thursday with a bit more from the hall.
For our final visit to the watermill, I’ll show you some of the interesting things I found walking around the grounds with my camera.
In one of the sheds
Yes that was a surprise, here’s a few details of it
There was another one in a lock up, but that still worked apparently. Had a bar in it too!
My favourite part was the Water feature.
So that brings me to the end of showing you around the watermill, though if you were interested there’s plenty more to see in the full album (including rusty stuff embedded in ivy and cat pictures) in the full album HERE
All pictures embiggenable with a clickety click.
Oh and finally, it was quite cold in the evenings, and Phil had to pull out his boy scout skills!
On my last post, The Camel Parade, I said that that was the last report for a while as I’ve posted everything for my outings in 2017. Well I lied. 🙂 Not so much lied really, as completely overlooked mine and Sophies day out to see the Guildhall in Newcastle. Usually you are not allowed in the building, but there are Heritage Open days where you can get a guided tour of it, and Sophie booked us to go on one.
The History Bit
The building was designed by Robert Trollope and completed in 1655. Trollope was a 17th-century English architect, born in Yorkshire, who worked mainly in Northumberland and Durham. A propos of nothing, he was buried in St Mary’s church Gateshead where he’d designed and built his own monument with statue of himself and inscription that reads
“Here lies Robert Trollop
Who made yon stones roll up
When death took his soul up
His body filled this hole up”.
More Pam Ayres than Wordsworth, but he lives on in his magnificent buildings.
The frontage of the building was rebuilt to designs by William Newton and David Stephenson in 1794. The east end of the building is an extension designed by John Dobson and completed in 1823.
So on with the pictures!
In the stairwell on the way up to the courtrooms
The statue was placed originally placed at the North End of the Tyne Bridge, on the restoration of Charles II to the throne. It had the motto Adventus Regis solemn gregis. i.e the coming of the king is the comfort of his people.On 15th June 1771 it was moved and placed in a niche on the side of the Exchange (this is what the Guildhall was known as back then). It was finally moved to where it is now in 1794. I got this information from a book published in 1826 by John Sykes (bookseller of Newcastle), and the full fascinating story can be found HERE
In 1649 15 people were hanged on the Town Moor for the crime of Witchcraft, they were tried here.
The Merchant Adventurers Hall was quite something..
Stay tooned for part 2, which will be even more stunning than part 1, really! 😀
After the museum we went out to the anglo~saxon farm and village. Home to curly-coated pigs, Dexter bullocks, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens and more, this 11-acre site houses rare breeds which are the closest possible representatives of the animals that would have been present 1300 years ago. Generally smaller than those we see today, these breeds give a feel for what animals would have been like during Bede’s time. Anglo-Saxons used the bird species for their meat, feathers and eggs; the eggs were not only eaten but used to mix inks used by monks to illustrate their manuscripts. Cattle would have worked daily on farms to pull ploughs or carts, while sheep were kept mainly for their wool which was spun and woven into cloth. The farm is complemented by a number of replica wattle and daub and timber-framed buildings based on structures excavated within Anglo-Saxon Northumbria, and is a green haven in the middle of Jarrow.
We picked a good day for the weather.
at the bottom end of the site you can see across the River Tyne
We then got round to the village bit where there’s a replica Anglo-Saxon cross, carved entirely by hand, and sits overlooking the River Tyne.
It sits above the village meeting place
and you get a good view over the village
There was a chap called Jim inside the building on the right of the above picture, and he was really informative, and let Sophie have a go at grinding flour
he’d also made a weaving thingy and was in the process of weaving some cloth
he’d also made a wood turner
for making utensils
This next building is a huge larder, you go down steps once you’re through the door and there’s sausages and herbs etc all hanging from the ceiling, but it it was really cold and dark in there!
All the fences around the farm were hand made willow woven
We left as the sun was sinking and we wanted to get across to the site of the monastery which is just down the road by the church, but that will be our next report, so stay tooned!
We had to walk back the same way we came, so I decided to put the macro lens on and see what I could find,
but soon changed back to the telephoto, the water was too enticing, and other stuff was going on,
the sheep were off to get a drink
When we got back we trogged up the hill to the newly opened cafe
delicious home made soup for lunch
and a lovely view over Derwent Water
The little cabin is for hire, the people who run the cafe also run a Glamping site which has got great reviews on their facebook page, hot tubs, clear ceilings for star watching etc. Their website is HERE and you can see the different cabins and book a stay if you so desire.
after lunch Sophie and I decided to explore the woodlands behind the cafe
time to revisit the macro lens
and admire the views of the heather covered meadows
before making our way back to the car.
Extra lusciousness can be seen in the full albumHERE
Stay tooned for our next outing, to Jarrow Hall, the Bede Museum and Medieval Village
Last week I posted about mine and Sophie’s trip to Bolam Lake, and for regular followers you’ll know that in the afternoon the clouds came over and we decided to visit St.Andrews Church, which is only around the corner and a minute or so away from the lake. In spite of that, and in spite of having been there before, I managed to not find it and got lost for 1/2 an hour. I’m blaming the sat-nav for confusing me! Anyway eventually we got there and took a few pictures.
The church is ancient, a grade I listed building, and has been there for 1000 years.
The tower was built at that time, by the Saxons, with a belfry at the top. The main belfry window opening has a classic Saxon rounded shaft in the middle, said to be made by applying wood turning techniques.
The porch’s round arched doorway has 13th century dogtooth carving around it and reaching all the way down to the ground . The pattern at its best is usually shaped like four flower petals. The outermost nutmeg carving is more a 12th century style. Above it in the church wall is a reused gravestone.
The chancel is typically long and narrow, with an east window of three lancets, which were glazed in about 1880 by F.R. Wilson. The original Saxon chancel was lengthened in the 13th century by the Normans and parts of the former sanctuary arch can be seen, reused. The beautiful altar frontal was donated in 1909 by Augusta in memory of her brother Charles Perkins who died at 2am on25th August 1905.
The chapel, currently referred to as the Shortflatt Chapel or sometimes Dent chapel, is now so named because it was built by Robert de Reymes, who had inherited half the barony of Bolam. He was a knight and lived at Shortflatt, as did his descendants for the following three hundred years. Shortflatt eventually passed to the Dent and now the Hedley-Dent family.
Robert rebuilt Shortflatt Tower in stone with a licence to crenellate in 1305, after it had been burnt down. The town of Bolam was granted a market and a fair the same year, but Bolam castle was described as dilapidated. He died in 1324 and there is an effigy of him (without legs) in the chapel. It is thought the effigy was shortened to fit in the niche, which originally almost certainly would have contained a statue of The Virgin Mary.
On April 30th 1942, a German bomber was on a bombing run over England when he was chased by 2 RAF fighters, in trying to get away he offloaded his bombs and flew low. He didn’t make it, but one of his bombs flew into the chancel. On 5th May the vicar’s wife, wrote to her son Flying Officer John Hutton stationed in the Middle East:
‘…Jerry paid us a visit at 4am May 1st. He was being hotly pursued by two of our fighters who were on his tail. He was very low down, and discharged the whole of his load in order to get away, but he failed and lies at Longhorsley. 4 bombs 2 1/2 tons in all. One fell, just missing the walnut tree, which still stands, 30yds from houses wall. An unexploded one lay in the chancel, it had passed through the lower part of the wall in the H>D> Chapel, smashing all the furnishings in that part of the church, none of any value, injuring some windows…the remaining two bombs only made large craters in Windmill field…’.
The churchyard has no less than 16 listed monuments, including the gate, but mostly ancient graves.
The oldest legible inscription on a headstone is dated 1697 and reads:
Hic jacet corpus Marci Ansley de Gallow-hill. Obiit II de Aprilis anno etatis……: salutis humanae 1697.
I think most photographers like a good graveyard to explore, and St.Andrews is one of the most interesting. And old!
Well that’s enough for a post I think. For more of the medieval stonework, mushrooms and ancient graves, the full album can be seenHERE
For more interesting info on the church, the website is HERE
Now the Road Trip is done, I can go back to reporting on the lovely scenery that Sophie and I got to see on our day trips this year. Back in September, just before Autumn turned up, we had a sunny day and headed off to Bolam Lake. Although I’ve been before a few years ago, Sophie hadn’t so off we went.
Warning: short attention span~ners leave now, long post with lots of pretty photo’s 🙂
The lake was constructed c.1817 for Lord Decies of Bolam. John Dobson was commissioned to lay out the grounds in 1816, including the 25-acre artificial lake and woodland. Northumberland County Council purchased the lake and some of the surounding woodland in 1972 for use as a Country Park.
Mute swans are a familiar and impressive sight in Britain. Often found on ponds and rivers in parks and other urban areas. By tradition, all mute swans belong to the monarch. They are one of Britain’s largest and heaviest birds, with a wingspan of up to 2.4 metres. Male swans are highly territorial and first threaten intruders, striking an aggressive pose with wings arched over their back, before charging at them to chase them off. There are quite a few that live on Bolam lake and they are magnificent.
not just swans though
You could see Autumn beginning to take over the greenery
with plenty of leaves fallen already
We heard a loud annoying buzzing sound at one point, and thought some one must be strimming but that wasn’t the case.
if I’d had a gun I’d have shot it down. Hadn’t realised how loud and obnoxious they are, especially on a peaceful walk around a beautiful place. In spite of that feeling I had a chat on with the chap driving it and saw the results on his iPad. I want one, but with a silencer!
There was plenty of opportunity to shoot some reflections
and places to sit and enjoy the views
Some amazing old trees and bushes
There’s a nice cafe at the visitor centre where we had lunch, but then came clouds, so we decided to visit the nearby very old church of St. Andrews, but that’s a tale for another day. Stay tooned!